Tooth extraction is common in adult patients, and although it is not a nice thought to lose one’s natural teeth, dentists will not extract teeth if it is not necessary. There are many good reasons why your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction.
Common Reasons for a Tooth Extraction
- Damage and decay
- Severe trauma to the tooth
- An impacted tooth
- Periodontal disease (severe gum disease)
What to Expect from a Tooth Extraction
Before the extraction, your dentist will give you an injection of local anesthetic to numb the area, where the tooth will be removed. Depending on the condition of the tooth, an extraction involves the dentist grabbing the tooth with forceps and loosening it from the mouth by rocking it backwards and forwards. Teeth that are not as easily extracted may be cut into pieces and removed piece by piece. An impacted tooth requires the dentist to cut into the gum and bone tissue that covers the tooth, before it is removed with forceps.
Once the tooth is removed, a blood clot will normally form in the socket. The dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and have you bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Depending on the type of extraction, the dentist may use self-dissolving stitches to close the gum tissue over the extraction site.
Advice for After a Tooth Extraction
The following tips can help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed recovery.
- Take painkillers as prescribed.
- Place an ice bag over the affected area immediately after the procedure to reduce swelling. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time for a period of an hour. (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for an hour.)
- Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction.
- Avoid rinsing your mouth or spitting forcefully for 24 hours to avoid dislodging the blood clot in the tooth socket.
- Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
- Do not smoke.
- Eat soft foods for a day after the extraction.
- Avoid the extraction site when brushing and flossing your teeth
Although having a tooth extracted may seem overwhelming, the good news is, there are many options available to replace an extracted tooth to ensure maximum comfort, functionality and a full smile.